Getting Acquainted with Special Education

Getting Acquainted with Special Education

Special education is a program designed to meet and protect children with unique needs. Special education can serve many children of many different types of disabilities, from physical disabilities to mental disabilities or learning disabilities. Perhaps your child has special needs and would benefit in a special education program, or perhaps your child received a referral for an evaluation to be placed in special education. For either situation, it is wise to check out the school’s special education program to see if it is the right fit for you and your child.

Types of Special Education

While many schools offer special education programs, not all programs or schools are built the same. What works for one child might not necessarily work for all children. With the school district and your IEP team, it is important to discover what special education plan will work best for your child.

In some instances, schools integrate special education with regular education. This situation means that your child will receive special instruction and extra modifications while still being able to sit in the same class as children without disabilities. Depending on your child’s disability, this option might be the best choice. Your child can still feel like a part of the class and benefit from socializing and interacting with children that do not have disabilities. However, in these situations, there is still a chance that the other children can tease your child. It is important to ask your child what she is comfortable with.

Other special education programs integrate children with an IEP with regular school children for less than half of the school day. When the children are not integrated, those on the IEP plan are in a different class with specialized instruction. This type of program is the best of both worlds for some special needs children. This situation would be ideal for highly functional special needs children with Down syndrome, autism, or ADHD.

Finally, some schools have special education programs that are totally segregated from regular classroom settings. Children in these programs receive and socialize only with other children with disabilities. This classroom could be beneficial for some children, since they will always get the hands-on help they need from teachers, assistants, and therapists. For children with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia or ADHD, this option might not be the best choice because they might not receive socialization at their level.

When looking further into special education for your child, decide what classroom situation will best suit her needs. Talk with your local school about the options available to get a better idea on how the school proceeds with IEPs. If your local school does not have a special education program that will work for your child, talk with your school district and see if other schools in the area can meet your child’s needs.

Photo by NYC-MetroCard

About Author